The future of events

Lee Grasby May 16, 2014

Brett Sadler, assistant director of neighbourhoods at North Wales Housing, gives his verdict on this week’s Comms Hero conference in Manchester.

Now there are a few things to say up front. For any of you that have met me, you’ll know that I’m not a life of the party kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m up for a laugh as much as most and I’ve come to realise that you have two choices in life – to embrace or not.

The reason that this is important is because the #commshero event was anything but your average event. If you were a shrinking violet, then this event would have pushed you to the edge and beyond.


Prior to the day, the activity under the hashtag #commshero along with the dedicated @commerhero Twitter account made it feel quite a different event; the sort of event that I really wanted to be part of. So, I duly responded to Asif’s call to action and agreed to attend. I received an invitation, handwritten note and details of the event through the post. I was already excited!

Knowing Asif as I do, I knew it wouldn’t simply be a sit and listening event. I was not disappointed. On arrival we were given ‘swag’ bags full of goodies, along with the opportunity to put on a cape and get our picture taken. Then the days event started off with a sing along. Yes, you read right, a sing along. Just look at the #commshero hashtag on Vine and Twitter and you’ll see the video’s of the sing along, and for anyone who attended, it’s safe to say that ‘I’m a Comm’s Hero’ will forever run through our minds. On repeat and rewind.

Then followed the main speakers Grant Leboff (@grantleboff ), Dan Slee (@danslee), Helen Reynolds (@helreynolds) and John Popham (@johnpopham ).

I would happily have attended the event just to hear one of these speak, so getting to hear all four in the day was a real honour and a treat.

The day was broken up with frequent 10 minute breaks, one after each speaker. Conference organisers take note – this felt good! The chance to stretch our legs and network only enhanced the feeling that this event was something different.

The afternoon was interspersed with more audience participation in the form of an organised ‘laughing session’ (again check the #commshero hashtag for vine video’s and pics of this), along with a #commshero labelled Krispy Kreme donut each, delivered by the facilitators for the day (including me) dutily dressed with cape.

Late morning we were told that the #commshero hashtag had been trending that morning on social media above Jeremy Kyle and below Jay-Z, and at the end of the day we were told the @twitter reach had been 154k accounts reached with 1.5million impressions. Talk about some heroic stats for the day.

Not that things have ended there. Resource Housing (who organised the day) have put together an epic Storify of the event, which I’d recommend having a look at and the conversation is still continuing on twitter as we speak.

CommsHero 22

Overall, the event was excellent, and I was pleased to hear that before the event had even finished, dates were being talked about for an event in Wales and other areas. Huge thanks and congratulations to Asif Choudry (@asifchoudry) and the Resource Housing team who really provided a brilliant day for all.

So to say that I enjoyed this event would be an understatement. Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’ve got to go and save the world. Where did I leave my cape?

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